General Motors Files "ZR1" Trademark, Range-Topping Corvette Could Be On The Way
It’s still not known if the ZR1 will be used on the C7 or C8by Kirby Garlitos, on
It’s been seven years since Chevrolet used the “ZR1” name to denote the top-of-the-line Chevrolet Corvette. But with the seventh-generation Vette due for replacing, it looks like General Motors is planning to bring back the badge before the Corvette C7 gives way to the next-generation model. According to Autoblog, GM has filed a trademark application for the name “ZR1” with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Apparently, GM wants to use the name for “motor land vehicles, namely, automobiles,” a telling sign that the long-rumored return of the Corvette ZR1 is inching closer and closer to becoming a reality.
No specifics were given on what GM plans to do with the “ZR1” name, but if history is any indication, it could be used on a range-topping Corvette that would sit above the Corvette Z06. Such a car has been talked about before, most recently when news broke that Chevrolet is planning to turn the Corvette into a mid-engine sports car that can compete against its European counterparts. It’s unclear if the ZR1 name will be used on the eighth-gen C8 model or on a send-off model for the current-generation C7. Either way, the return of the ZR1 could only mean great things for Chevrolet.
It’s worth noting that General Motors already owns the trademark for “ZR-1,” a name that it has used in past Corvette models, most recently in 1995 with the LT5-powered model. It also used the ZR1 name from 2009 to 2013 on a model that featured a supercharged LS9 6.2L small-block V-8 that produced 638 horsepower and 604 pound-feet of torque.
Whatever decision GM makes, it looks like the company is finally staking claim to the name with the filing of this trademark application.
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Why it matters
It feels like time is traveling too fast for us to take notice. I say that because it only felt like yesterday when the 2009 Corvette ZR1 was unveiled. And yet, it’s been seven years since that happened and the filing of the trademark application only points that out. More crucially though is what Chevrolet plans to do with the ZR1 name. At this point, there are two possibilities that have been reported by a number of publications and web sites.
The first possibility is that the ZR1 will be used on a range-topping Corvette model that will sit above the Corvette Z06. It’s been rumored that the car will still be a C7 version and will be developed in a way that would give the Corvette C7 a proper send-off before giving way to the next-generation C8 model. It’s been said that this model will be the last Corvette to offer a front-mounted engine, adding to its significance in the overall history of the American sports car. If Chevrolet does decide to take this route, expect to see the model in production form at the 2017 Detroit Auto Show.
The other possibility is that Chevrolet is filing the trademark now and saving it for the C8 model when it makes its own debut in 2018. The name Chevrolet Corvette Zora ZR1 has even been thrown around with the “Zora” name being added as an homage to Zora Arkus-Duntov, considered as the “Father of the Corvette.” This model, if it does come to pass, would be packaged as an eighth-generation model, which means that it would be the first production Corvette, let alone alone one bearing the ZR1 badge, to come with a mid-mounted engine. Technical numbers are still unknown at this point, but considering the technical evolution that comes with having an all-new version of the sports car, an output of 740 horsepower 700 pound-feet of torque is within reason.
However this takes shape, I do appreciate that Chevrolet and General Motors are finally taking ownership of the ZR1 name. It’s something that both should’ve done a long time ago.
Read our full review on the 2017 Chevrolet Corvette Zora ZR1 here.